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Another Oil Thread


TouringComet

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Not sure what day Big Ed is referring to “back in the day”, but back in my early Vincent days, straight 50 grade oil was recommended. And I don’t even go as far back as many others. These days, I go with 20-50. And there are special oils suited for flat tappet motors like the Vin.
 

BigEd

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Not sure what day Big Ed is referring to “back in the day”, but back in my early Vincent days, straight 50 grade oil was recommended. And I don’t even go as far back as many others. These days, I go with 20-50. And there are special oils suited for flat tappet motors like the Vin.
I was hardly old enough to have even a kiddie cycle in the "back in the day" I was referring to so I'm not talking from personal experience. :)
The riders handbook issued by Harper Engineers lists SAE 40 for most brands of oil when used in temperate conditions. I think Kent falls into the temperate summer conditions most of the time if they are lucky. Interestingly they do suggest SAE 50 for the Vacuum brand. For tropical conditions, the list specifies SAE 50 so Steve is correct depending on where you are located.
Richardson also lists SAE 40 for temperate summer. I don't know how many people use straight rather than multigrade these days. The low viscosity of multigrade when cold can make starting easier due to reduced drag and it should allow the cold oil to circulate a little quicker. Straight SAE 40 is also recommended for the gearbox although I use an EP80 or 90 grade gear oil. In the engine I use whatever multigrade I have on hand, usually 20-40 as that is what I use in my other bikes.
I have put 48,000 miles on this engine although I have to say I have recently fitted a new big-end and had a + 0.020" rebore. (It still clatters like a steam roller.:rolleyes:)
Some of the older oils had additives that were better suited to older designs. Some of these have been removed as they interfere with catalytic converters found on modern vehicles. I think zinc was one of these, not sure if you will find a brand that still lists that, others might know which these might be.
I can see an "oil thread" looming on the horizon.;)
 
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MartynG

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I will never forget the castrol oil slogan "Oils A'int Oils"
 

Bill Thomas

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I still use single grades, 40 in the summer 30 if it's cold, And my Old Comet 50, Because it's a little worn,
And if I use 40 in it, It smokes so bad, I will think it needs a rebuild, But it runs OK and starts OK, So why bother. Cheers Bill.
 

b'knighted

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A thought occurred to me whilst reading BigEd's comments above. Does the thinner cold viscosity of modern oils lead to a greater incidence of sumping?
That said, I have taken to using the thinnest multigrade synthetic oils I can find.

Having gone from always using Castrol GTX which I think was originally 20 - 50 before they changed it to 10 - 40, I now use 10 - 50 or even 5 - 50 if I can find it.
On the Knight I use ATF in the gearbox, the only problem being that it is invisible on the dipstick.
 

TouringComet

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Climate is a factor. Not sure if most of the US is tropical or not, but certainly warmer than other places, 50 grade oil was pretty common. With ClevTrev’s oil temp measurement, and other thinking, many have switched to lower grades, and from single grade to multi grade.
 

TouringComet

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This is a special case, for land speed racing, but there is a picture of Rollie Free, on his own Lightning, not the John Edgar bike, with tape at the front of the petrol tank, covering the opening to the UFM. It can get cold at the Bonneville Salt Flats, and I guess Rollie realized the oil was not getting up to temp.

One year that Craig Breedlove set a record, it was October, and there is a picture of his vehicle the next day, covered in snow.
 

mercurycrest

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So stick with the older oils like Castro’s 40 or 50 do you think?
That's what I do, Brad Penn 40W (You won't find it in the UK) in my D and Castrol R in the A. Castrol makes a 40W for old bikes in the same series as I posted before.
 

vibrac

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When I can get castrol or castorlene R30 thats the stuff!;) no rubber gloves handing that oil, you wont see a cleaner inside timing cover and the old stuff is magic in the lathe. I will admit to going to Filtrate 2 stroke in my Scott though:confused:
 

TouringComet

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Brad Penn oil is my choice, it has the good stuff for flat tappets.
 

Glenliman

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I'll "step in it" and suggest this oil. I haven't tried it in my Vincents yet, but it works a treat in my Minor 1000.
  • Castrol Classic Oil XL20w/50 1 Litre
Castrol Classic Oil XL20w/50 1 Litre
That oil was one of about 50 that Jim Comstock, the Norton guru, tested in his scar tester.
It did very well at 337 lbs load to failure, and it's not expensive.
150 lbs at load failure was considered minimum acceptable for a stock engine.
Some of the very expensive oils turned to smoke very quickly. Redline 20/50 Synthetic with its very high Zddp of 2200 ppm failed at 119 lbs. Shell Aero Aircraft motor oil for flat tappet type engines sounded promising. It turned to smoke as soon as the first weight was added to the load arm.
96 lbs was all it managed.

I haven't been able to find the Castrol Classic here in Canada. Too bad, as the 337 lb load at failure puts it near top of class, recommended for Stage 3, Full Race engines.
The tables listed a number of oils with load ratings in the stock engine group, from 150 lbs to 175 lbs at failure.
Next was Stage 1 performance at 175 to 200lbs, Stage 2 at 200 to 300 and Stage 3, oil for full race engines at above 300lbs. Heat from friction was also measured.

Royal Purple HPS 20/50 (437lbs) also scored extremely high and it is readily available here. It showed negligible heat from friction.
Valvoline VR1 20/50 handled a fairly high load , just into Stage 2, (205 lbs)before failure . The straight 50 did even better at 230 pounds The VR1 is a conventional oil and not low friction like the HPS. A higher friction oil could be a good thing for a Vincent, especially in cool climates. As we know, Vincents take a long time to get the oil up to a good operating temp.
VR1 is one of the easiest to find here on the West Coast of North America, US or Canada.
Its probably not available in the UK, however you have the Castrol Classic which is all you really need.
Brad Penn Penngrade 1 20/50 was the only Brad Penn oil tested. It had load failure at 152lbs. It had very high heat from friction.

Glen
 
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vibrac

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That oil was one of about 50 that Jim Comstock, the Norton guru, tested in his scar tester.
It did very well at 337 lbs load to failure, and it's not expensive.
150 lbs at load failure was considered minimum acceptable for a stock engine.
Some of the very expensive oils turned to smoke very quickly. Redline 20/50 Synthetic with its very high Zddp of 2200 ppm failed at 119 lbs. Shell Aero Aircraft motor oil for flat tappet type engines sounded promising. It turned to smoke as soon as the first weight was added to the load arm.
96 lbs was all it managed.

I haven't been able to find the Castrol Classic here in Canada. Too bad, as the 337 lb load at failure puts it near top of class, recommended for Stage 3, Full Race engines.
The tables listed a number of oils with load ratings in the stock engine group, from 150 lbs to 200 lbs at failure.
Next was Stage 1 performance at 200 to 250lbs, Stage 2 at 250 to 300 and Stage 3, oil for full race engines at above 300lbs. Heat from friction was also measured.

Royal Purple HPS 20/50 (437lbs) also scored extremely high and it is readily available here. It showed negligible heat from friction.
Valvoline VR1 20/50 handled a fairly high load , just into Stage 1,(205 lbs)before failure . The straight 50 did even better at 230 pounds The VR1 is a conventional oil and not low friction like the HPS. A higher friction oil could be a good thing for a Vincent, especially in cool climates. As we know, Vincents take a long time to get the oil up to a good operating temp.
VR1 is one of the easiest to find here on the West Coast of North America, US or Canada.
Its probably not available in the UK, however you have the Castrol Classic which is all you really need.
Brad Penn Penngrade 1 20/50 was the only Brad Penn oil tested. It had load failure at 152lbs. It had very high heat from friction.

Glen
Did they did not test castrol R or its equivalents? That would be interesting......
 

Bill Thomas

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I use " Morris Lubricants " Golden Film SAE 40, Classic Motor Oil, Or 30 or 50.
From Feked.com.
 

mercurycrest

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Did they did not test castrol R or its equivalents? That would be interesting......
A 45 years ago , an oil salesman showed up at my friend's Bike Shop with a Timken (scar) oil tester. Jack was a well known Class C racer with a championship Rider. He always drained his used R into a big tin that originally held very cheap re cycled Aero brand oil in order for the impurities to settle out. After the salesman showed the superiority of his oil, Jack asked him to try the "Aero". Well, it never did break down and the guy left muttering to himself.
 

peter holmes

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I have used Motul 300v Le Mans 20w-60 for years without any problems, I ignored all the dire warnings about skidding big end rollers due to excess lubricity, not particularly cheap, but nor is the 4* leaded fuel I use from Platts garage in Marlow, £1.80 per litre, I have also always run with a magnetic drain plug, and as my bike has a tendency to wet sump I have plenty of opportunity to check it, always sans debris, in fact spotlessly clean. The specs of the oil states that it can cope with just about anything any engine could throw at it, and even tacks on the end that it is good for vintage cars, I would love to be able to see scar test results on this oil, it would be so disappointing if it was awful.
 

Glenliman

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Castrol R40 bean oil made it to stage 2 , 242 lbs. It is quite low in friction at 1.9 total heat from friction. Some conventional oils were as high as 7 total heat.
Some synthetics had "not measureable" heat from friction.
Most synthetics were in the .5 to 2 range.
Three Motul oils were tested, the Lemans 300v synthetic, an oil labelled 5100 and another labelled 7100.
The 5100 failed at 195 lbs, Stage 1, the 7100 at 416 lbs, Stage 3. The Lemans 300v failed at 126 lbs. The Lemans had very low heat from friction.
Morris oil also did quite well at 196 lbs. This was Morris VTwin 20/50. Golden film wasn't tested.
One interesting observation was that a given company might have one or two oils that could resist very high loading and also one or two that failed with extremely light loading.
Brand meant nothing.
The expensive Royal Purple XPR synthetic that Jim had been using in his fuel injected Norton Commando 880 failed at just over 100 lbs. Royal Purple HPS made 437, nearly at the top of the stage 3 group.
 
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peter holmes

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You used to see chaps at motorcycle products events selling an oil additive, I seem to remember branded as Q8, it seemed to have remarkable properties, almost impossible to brake through the surface using what I presume is a scar tester, but is it advisable to mix it with a good quality oil, don't think I would.
 

Glenliman

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Jim did some testing with three additives. One of those was branded Active 8, could that be the additive you mention?
He was in discussions with various oil chemists during the testing, which went on for weeks. One of the chemists told him to be prepared for extreme variation in results when using the additives.
That turned out to be correct. With some oils the additive would add film strength and with others film strength would diminish.
The blends did much the same. Adding two oils with 300 lb film strength might result in an oil with 400 lbs or 200 lbs.
In the end, he found plenty of oils capable of doing the job without having to use additives or blends.
He intially decided to do the testing to see how his own favourite oil, the expensive Royal Purple XPR, would stand up. This was after wearing out a high lift cam at just 25,000 miles.
What he learned was that the Royal Purple XPR was not a good choice for that motor.
It likely contributed to the rapid wear.
After he tested a few other oils, Access Norton members started sending him oil for testing. He tested oils from all over the world.

Bel Ray is another company with several oils that tested well.

Glen
 
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